Meat export returns up 21% in five years, says Ministry

SOPI 2014Meat export values are expected to rise by over 21 percent over the next five years with lamb and mutton showing the biggest increases, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) annual snapshot, the Primary Industries Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries 2014 (SOPI 2014).

The latest SOPI figures show that total export returns from meat and wool – including beef and veal, lamb, mutton, venison, other meats, hides and skins, animal co-products and animal products for feed  – are estimated to be $8.071 billion to the year ending June 2014, news that has pleased Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

“Meat and wool exports have broken $8 billion, which is fantastic considering last year’s drought,” he said, adding that exports are expected to increase by around 22 percent for the five years from 2013 to 2018. The forecast rise will be driven by high prices from a globally constrained supply of beef and lamb and steadily growing demand in Asia, says the report, which also notes that China is now the most significant market for New Zealand’s meat and wool exports.

Extracting figures for wool and carpets, meat and co-product export values, including hides and skins and products for feed, are estimated to rise by 21.5 percent on the 2013 values to $8.3 billion by the end of June 2018 (see table below). Lamb values are forecast to increase the most over the five year period, by 43 percent by 2018, closely followed by mutton (41 percent), beef and veal (12.9 percent), venison (4.7 percent), animal co-products for feed (4.8 percent) and hides and skins (3.89 percent).

Meat export values ($ Million), 2011 to 2018

Year to 30 June




2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017


Beef and veal


2010 2143 2115* 2136 2201 2277




2310 2263 2570* 2677 2763 2898




329 395 498* 481 490 508




205 171 179* 171 170 171


Other meat


433 435 417* 393 403 416


Hides and skins


570 565 592* 520 534 552


Animal co-products


671 678 639* 653 659 665


Animal products for feed


213 229 210* 229 230 232




6741 6879 7220 7260 7450 7719


Extracted from source: Statistics NZ and MPI. *=estimate

Following last year’s drought, stock numbers are expected to recover in 2014. But beyond 2014, numbers will continue their decline with conversions to dairy, especially in the South Island.

“However, productivity improvements on farm will see beef production remaining relatively stable and lamb production slowly increasing,” the report notes, adding that venison production is expected to decline with stock numbers.

Lamb lifts in 2014

Another highlight in the report is that the lamb export value has lifted by 13.6 percent in the year to June 2014 to a record $2.57 billion. “A recovery in demand from traditionally high value European markets has complemented strong growth in the Chinese market for cheaper cuts, bringing about robust overall value for lamb,” the report says.

“Exceptional growth” in exports of lamb and mutton to China – 76 percent in the year to end June 2013 – saw China absorb the increased supply of lamb and mutton as a result of the drought. Mutton that would have previously gone to the European Union was diverted to the market.

Primary sector exports reach record levels of $37.7 billion

SOPI 2014 notes that primary sector exports will reach record levels of $37.7 billion over the last year – around $1.3 billion more than previously forecast. It reveals that export prices increased across most sectors for the year ending June 2014. Both dairy and forestry sectors stood out with good increases in both price and production,” says Guy.

“Dairy now accounts for 46 percent of total primary industry export value and 35 percent of total New Zealand merchandise export value. High price levels for dairy were underpinned by robust demand from China, which remains an important market for dairy, meat and wool, seafood and logs.”

The results highlighted in SOPI are helped by programmes such as the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP), Sustainable Farming Fund, and the Irrigation Acceleration Fund which all deliver long-term value to the sector and the New Zealand economy, says the Minister. “It makes great reading for New Zealand’s primary industries as it enters the 2014/15 year.”

The full report is available on MPI’s website –

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